Sunday 18 February 2018

Eilis O'Hanlon: Former Big Daddy faces competition from all sides

In the first week of Kenny and O'Rourke going head to head, Pat was slow off the starting blocks

Newstalk's Pat Kenny,
Newstalk's Pat Kenny,
Sean O'Rourke, centre, with Kevin Bakhurst, MD of News & Current Affairs, RTE, and Jim Jennings, Acting MD, RTE Radio

Eilis O'Hanlon

THE great battle began with a truce. At least on Sean O'Rourke's part. He opened his first Today show last Monday with good wishes for rival Pat Kenny, who was beginning his own inaugural show at the exact same moment over on News-talk. Pat didn't reciprocate. Awkward.

It felt like a genuinely warm personal gesture from RTE's new morning host. Better still, it was boldly confident, an impression which O'Rourke built on immediately with a gentle quip at the rival network's huge 'Move The Dial' advertising campaign: "Not that you'd be moving there, or anything like that."

Half an hour in, Today then pulled another masterstroke – a snappy little sketch from Oliver Callan parodying not only the rivalry between the two veteran broadcasters, but a host of other RTE stars as well. Having Pat Kenny, as played by Callan, refer to his new employers as "Newschat or whatever it's called" was particularly funny. They weren't ignoring the elephant in the room, but celebrating it.

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